Beginnings and Endings

So much of our lives are divided by time demarcations. The starts and stops of events and accomplishments are mile posts along the path we each take. Our epochs help us to comprehend our human lives and provide a temporal context in which we orgaize our stories about them.

Think about the telling of your own life. You probably start by the year you were born, the fall you entered kindergarten, the earning of a varsity letter as a freshman, the month you finished high school, the year you dropped out of college, launching businesses, getting married, children arriving, vocational accomplishments, retirement–all of these are fixed in time and support the narrative structure of your life.

As an End-of-Life Doula, one of my greatest joys is guiding my clients through the sometimes difficult process of ordering the events in their life’s trajectory and taking inventory. Some clients want to give words to their inventories; others want the details reduced to writing; a few choose to record their own voices in the telling of their stories.

Putting words to our lives allows us some distance. In that space, we have the opportunity to look at the words with enough narrative distance to applaud and forgive ourselves in the making–and ending–of a human life.

Published by Jenna Brownson

Early morning writer, mother to four, wife to one, recovering lawyer, End-of-Life Doula.

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